The Ted Bundy Project

Killing most of an hour, and murder to sit through, The Ted Bundy Project does bait-and-switch on its audience. Anyone who shows up expecting that this solo piece will in some way explore the string of homicides committed by the title figure, one of America’s most notorious serial killers, will instead get something else. And that something is a messy collage of ‘audio art,’ YouTube video, prop manipulation and recitative so dull as to invite fantasies of bodily harm. On yourself. Like puncturing your own eardrums.

When you hope in desperation that he will reveal that it’s all a tribute to Andy Kaufman and that the tedium will be broken by a group-sing of Day-O or the theme from Mighty Mouse, Wohead starts over from the top, repeating his opening speech, word for word.

Presenter Greg Wohead, a Texan transplanted to London, wears tennis whites, something Bundy used to do, to appear unthreatening to potential female victims. Whispering in a flat monotone voice, Wohead greets the audience with an opening monologue listing basic facts about Bundy: murdered 30 women, was tried and sent to death row, was fried in the electric chair in 1989.

In 2012, as he will tell you more than enough times during his ‘project,’ Wohead discovered Bundy’s final taped confessions about specific murders – a ploy to delay execution – posted on YouTube. This led, Wohead says, to his ventures into some dark nether regions of the Internet, where he found snuff and necrophilia videos and the reaction videos of people recording themselves watching the gore. Wohead’s reaction to those reactions is the show, a flat 53 minutes of nothing much. (Ushers warn patrons beforehand that there is violent material. There isn’t. It’s just a hollow tease.)

Tugging constantly on his white tennis shorts, Wohead takes his time taping out rectangles on the floor and placing within them objects meant to hint at Bundy’s crimes: a length of rope, handcuffs, a woman’s handbag. Wohead wears earbuds plugged into a small tape recorder clipped to his shorts. Sometimes he seems to be speaking Bundy’s words from that last confession, but it’s hard to hear (from the front row).

Next to the laptop Wohead employs to cue up video clips of young men recoiling in horror and vomiting as they watch something we don’t see, he has a turntable on which he drops the needle on incongruous 1970s pop tunes, including Hall and Oates’ 1977 hit You’re a Rich Girl, all originating from the decade of Bundy’s crimes. Wohead tells us one bit is a ‘dream dance sequence’, but he just stands there, motionless.

About 40 minutes into this, when you hope in desperation that he will reveal that it’s all a tribute to Andy Kaufman and that the tedium will be broken by a group-sing of Day-O or the theme from Mighty Mouse, Wohead starts over from the top, repeating his opening speech, word for word. Oh, how very performance-art-circa-1981. Been there. Yawned at that.

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The Ted Bundy Project

Performances

Location

The Blurb

In November 2012, Greg stumbled upon the confession tapes of Ted Bundy, the American serial killer, rapist and necrophile. He couldn’t stop listening. The Ted Bundy Project was born from a curiosity about the nature of charm, the label of ‘monster’, and the tension between attraction and repulsion. Greg will bring a wig, a bit of rope, a few YouTube videos and Bundy’s confession tapes. This performance contains extreme images and graphic, violent subject matter. ‘This slippery show makes us face up to our morbid fascination … not to be missed’ **** (Lyn Gardner, Guardian).